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Auburn Parks Master Plan Auburn, New York

September, 2016

Topic Areas: Community Engagement, Re-visioning of Neighborhood Parks, Parks and Open Space Planning
Project Scale: Urban Park System
Accomplished by: Maren King, Project Director; Student Design Team – Natalie Spinola, Hannah Marshman, Hannah Knowles, Shiyang Qin; Community Engagement Team Fall 2015 – Christopher Anderson, Tom Baker, Jessey Horvat, Seungah Lee, Xinzhao Li, Sara Reinstein, Natalie Spinola, Katie Stanifer, Kyle Volz, Zhangshua Wang
Partners: Tiffany Beebee, Planner at Auburn Dept. of Planning and Economic Development

  • Pomeroy park

    Auburn Parks and Recreation Master Plan, Auburn, New York


  • Information display

    Auburn Parks and Recreation Master Plan, Auburn, New York


  • photo of park

    Auburn Parks and Recreation Master Plan, Auburn, New York


  • park design

    Auburn Parks and Recreation Master Plan, Auburn, New York


  • playground

    Auburn Parks and Recreation Master Plan, Auburn, New York


  • concert

    Auburn Parks and Recreation Master Plan, Auburn, New York

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  • community meeting

    Auburn Parks and Recreation Master Plan, Auburn, New York


  • Pomeroy park
  • Information display
  • photo of park
  • park design
  • playground
  • concert
  • community meeting

Introduction

The City of Auburn Parks and Recreation Master Plan was prepared at the request of the City Office of Planning and Economic Development and is intended to supplement and support the City of Auburn 2010 Comprehensive Plan which serves as the Auburn’s primary land-use planning document. The purpose of the Parks Master Plan is to guide decisions about the improvement, management, and maintenance of city owned parklands for the next 10 years by also shaping and improving the delivery of services that are consistent with Auburn’s sustainability goals.

auburn parks distribution map

The master plan was developed through a collaborative design research process that explored and integrated community values along with preferences and trends for parks and recreational activities. Implementing the plan required active engagement with community members, city departments and other partners to provide information. For community members, the Plan describes and illustrates a vision for future parks that they were engaged in the formation of and will continue to have important roles in implementing. For existing and potential partners, the Plan reinforces the benefits and value of parks in maintaining a high quality of life and reinforcing the social, environmental, and fiscal health of the city.

Questions Explored

  • How are the City Parks used and how are they meeting current level of service demands?
  • What is the value of the City Parks and how are they fulfilling their roles in the community?
  • How can the City Parks be improved to better meet level of service demands and better fulfill their multiple roles in community life?

Project Description

The planning process and the development of the master plan was accomplished in four stages from September 2015 through June 2016.
Stage 1: Understanding Existing Conditions and Community Values

  • An overview of the proposed project process was presented to the Auburn City Council.
  • A Project Advisory Committee composed of community organizations and city department representatives was formed.
  • An inventory and documentation of existing conditions and characteristics of the 23 parks and playgrounds was performed by a city intern and by the ESF team.
  • Community members were invited to participate in this phase of the process through workshops and open house sessions held at several different times to provide information about existing conditions and ideas about specific parks in the system.

Stage 2: Confirmation of Findings and Project Vision and Goals

  • The draft vision and goals were reviewed and discussed with the city staff, the Advisory Committee, the City Council meeting, and community members. This ensured that the information gathered and analyzed would set the foundation for the master plan.

Stage 3: Development of Master Plan Alternatives

  • The ESF team prepared design studies for the nine selected parks to illustrate alternative approaches to achieve the vision for the Auburn Parks System. These alternatives were presented and discussed with community members at a workshop meeting in early April and a draft of the Auburn Parks Master Plan was developed.

Stage 4: The Final Master Plan

  • Development of a Master Plan Document and Executive Summary brochure, that included the following:
    • Overview of the city and existing parks conditions and patterns of use
    • Community parks and recreation desires and preferences
    • Auburn Parks vision, goals, and strategies
    • Level of service and guidelines for the parks
    • Park system design and maintenance recommendations
    • Master plan design studies of selected parks
    • Actions and priorities, developed an action agenda
    • Appendices – workshop results, inventories

Through the master plan process a vision statement and goals from community responses about the existing parks and ideas for the future.

Vision Statement: Our Auburn Parks are public places of beauty and respite, activity, and healthy living, where all people feel comfortable and welcome. The design and care of our parks reflects our community pride and recognizes their vital importance to the physical, social, economic, and environmental well-being of our community.

Goals:

  1. Create a parks system that supports the physical and mental well-being of people of all ages
  2. Provide care and maintenance of the parks that reinforces the desired character, supports safe and responsible use, and represents wise use of resources
  3. Strengthen community relationships and respectful use of parks
  4. Promote the value and multiple roles of parks to contribute to a resilient and sustainable community
  5. Ensure long term support and resources for parks programming, maintenance, and capital improvements.

The Auburn Parks Master Plan received a Merit Award for excellence in Planning and Analysis from the New York Upstate Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects.